Skip to content

Nationwide delays in police permit services

A sharp increase in applications for passports and ID cards has stretched police resources and created long queues.

Passi ihmisen kädessä
There are currently long waits for passport and ID card applications to be processed. Image: Matias Väänänen / Yle
Yle News

The global situation and the easing of the coronavirus pandemic have spurred demand for travel documents in particular, congesting police permit services.

Efforts have been made to alleviate the continuing problem throughout the spring, for example by hiring additional staff. Despite these efforts, queuing times are still long with the processing time for passport applications stretching out to months.

In Oulu, for example, appointment schedules for passport or identity card applications are booked solid for the next two, or so months.

Antero Aulakoski, of the Oulu Police Department, attributes the growing backlog to no only pent up demand from the pandemic, but also the unstable situation in Europe.

"People want to ensure their security by also renewing their passports. No actual research has been done on the matter, but this has become clear in discussions with people," Aulakoski says.

Most of the backlog is, however, due to the lifting of coronavirus travel restrictions around the world.

Renewal queues

According to statistics from the National Police Board, more than 600,000 passports expired throughout the country during the pandemic period, which is now being reflected in the heavy congestion of the permit services.

"Now that the situation is returning to normal and people want to travel and have taken their documents out of the drawer. At the same time, they notice they are expiring or have expired noticed that they head off to get them renewed," Aulakoski explains.

There have been backlogs in police permit services in the past, especially during the spring and early summer, but this year the situation is exceptionally difficult.

"Compared to last year, the demand for passports tripled during the first four months of the year. The statistics for May are not yet available, but I think it only increased during that time," says Aulakoski.

Not only has the volume of applications for passports and ID cards shot up, but also the number of other kinds of licenses and permits issued by police was twice as high during the first quarter of the year as compared to the same period of 2021.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman, the official who oversee the legality of actions by public authorities, recently drew attention to difficulties in obtaining passports, which has led to the addition of temporary staff throughout the country to process applications.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia